Curve? Slider? What does ASMI Say?

CADad I don’t believe that any of the medical establishment would feel comfortable with assertions that they are in control. They are in rock and a hard place spot. We ask for their advicce and they do their best to provide answers as they’ve been taught or learned. But in control they are.
Look I’m not trying to get you all to fess up and say teach a breaking ball or anything Marshalleque like that. What I’ve been poorly communicating here is that because we ask an unreasonable thing of a doctor (We know pitching is inherantly risky, we know Travel Ball grinds down players, we know too many breaking balls on a young arm is at minimum dangerous, yet we ask them to tell us what will make it less so). As an engineer I’d use a flow chart, much as I suspect their troubleshooting matrixes are like;; A) Problem Risk of Arm Injury- Yes- go to 2- no stop
2 Travel Team- Yes go to 3 no go to 6
3 Breaking Pitches- Yes go to 4 no go to 6
4 No Rest- Yes go to 5 no go to 6
5 Poor mechanics- Yes go to 6
6 Limit; Travel Team, Breaking Pitches, Limited rest, Poor Mechanics.

We just will force a kid into the factors and then ask a doctor how to stop it…What do you think would be reasonable for him to say. Except we keep layering on negative parameters on top of existing negative parameters.
Meanwhile people who don’t live in this pressure cooker are kickin our butt. And getting to play at the highest level over our countrymen.


Thanks for initiating this thread.
Great conversation going on here.

There’s a whole book to be written on the evolution of pitching in the USA.

Why the increase in injuries?

  1. An increase in pitches per inning contributes. Everyone wants to be the strikeout king. It takes more pitches to do that.

  2. I’m not a big fan of metal bats either. All those inside pitches are now texas league singles, fly outs are now home runs, lazy line drives are shots in the gap and all nine guys get the bat through the zone quickly and hit the ball more often. Plus I just like to hear the crack of the wood bat.

  3. I don’t think youth arms are as strong as they used to be. Some now-a-days get alot of competition, full speed throwing. We used to just play catch and throw the ball around 24-7. Sometimes full speed but alot of times 75% or so. I didn’t have a computer, a play station, 72 channels on cable, a four wheeler, a girlfriend, a job etc. I had baseball, basketball and football in that order.

Notice the emphasis on one simple parameter - speed. Check out the percentage of threads started by young pitchers here. They want to get more MPH. Not a whole lot of guys asking - how do I get movement on my fastball? Oh, they ask how to throw a curveball/slider. That’s the strikeout pitch.

Not many ask what kind of sequence is effective against a tall left handed power hitter? Or How do I pitch a contact guy? Tell me how to hold a runner? How can I determine how to pitch a guy I’ve never seen?

I just think the $$$$ are getting in the way of the love of THE GAME. 90+ MPH = college tuition if not a pro contract.

I have told my son. If this isn’t your dream and you don’t play because you love this game… stop playing because I don’t want you ruining it for somebody else.

Everyone’s heard Bob Gibson pitched with a broken leg. The difference is he did it because he loved the game/competition not because he was being paid a zillion dollars to tuff it out.

Maybe a few of todays pitchers are there for the wrong reason?

“Thanks for initiating this thread.
Great conversation going on here”.

A great pleasure, I happen to think that the site has some real baseball thinkers on it and once in a while we need to huddle together and chew some fat.
I find no holes in the wisdom you’ve laid down there. My personal opine is that it’s time for another revolution (Or Re-evolution, perhaps even De-evolution) in the sport, in America. It is starting to be a grim, no humanity game (People forget what an art it is…like the “Mona Lisa” was a paint by numbers thing…ha!), based on attrition and greed…oops that sounds like everything, business wise in America.
I preach and preach about this average looking guy (Most would walk right by him on the street and think they just passed a confused looking tourist) who could but doesn’t throw 90, who has little use for a breaking pitch in the context of his “Main Stuff”, only just for a little taste to keep batters completely confused. Who is so legendary in his mastering of the “boring” aspects of the game that now many don’t even believe it (Who sits around and learns the characteristics of every single batter he faces?, or the ever popular why "square yourself to be ready to field?..I say that those 15 gold gloves saved thousands of pitches/runs/wins, thats why). A simple man who would rather sit in his room and play a video game than go hang out with “The beautiful People” or shoot a round of golf or be with his family. But even at this advanced age is one of the most intense and IMHO dominant competitors ever to wear cleats. And still never sustained an arm injury (40+ yrs old, 20+ years as a starter, it’s his most successful year, by his own words, when he can throw 200+ innings).

All that said, in his simple way people should study Greg, it is so clear that he so completely loves the game (He could have hung em up years ago and still be in the Hall and have been a Cy++ and won a world series and…). Yet on he plays.
I say we gotta change the sport.
I wish I had the strength of will to make everyone see.


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk with ASU head coach Pat Murphy. One of the things we talked about was pitch counts. Murphy said he doesn’t really count pitches. He just pulls his pitchers when they start to look tired. I mentioned this on another baseball forum and there were some folks who had a big problem with that.

Is Murphy’s method an example of the kind of thing you’re suggesting we get back to?

BTW, my older son (age 16) was with me when I talked to Murphy. Murphy took one look at my son and immediately started talking to him about being a late bloomer. Now, my son is exactly like I was at that age and I’ve know all along that he would be a late bloomer. But that’s insider information that only I had. So I was impressed with how quickly Murphy recognized this in my son. Now, relating this back to pitch counts, I’ve aways felt Murphy was a bit quick to pull pitchers. But after seeing how quickly and accurately he assessed my son, I’m thinking he really does recognize the instant his pitchers get tired. And managing his arms that way is probably more effective than managing simply by pitch count.


Is Murphy’s method an example of the kind of thing you’re suggesting we get back to?

I certainly think so. There’s a lot to be said for the “old school” way of thinking (anyone who’s visited my website knows that, of course).

While baseball is perhaps the most-studied sport in terms of statistics, I think the movement to quantify talent — i.e., height and weight, radar gun, 60-yd dash, etc. — has become too dominant in evaluation of a player.

Earlier in this thread I compared it to a police officer handing out speeding tickets as opposed to stopping people for reckless driving. It’s a lot easier to evaluate and prove something in court with a number. Similarly, MLB started holding their scouts more accountable for their player evaluations. Not sure how or why, but the stopwatches and radar guns became more important than a scouts’ “eye”. Then crazy notions such as thinking that a kid who is 6’2", 200 lbs. will somehow “project” to be a better shortstop than one who is 5’7, 150. Phil Rizzuto, and Pee Wee Reese would never have a chance today, and under 6-foot guys like Henry Aaron, Mickey Mantle, and Willie Mays might have been passed over as well!

But when the scouts miss on a kid, they can go back to the charts with the numbers to cover their butts. “He ran a 6.4 60, he threw the ball 93 MPH, he was 6-foot-four — all the numbers said he was a can’t miss!”

Evaluation is just one aspect, but it’s a similar example to Murphy’s use of intangible, unmeasurable factors that can be just as important in baseball, but have all but died away from the game.

Managing pitchers by pulling them when they look tired is the ideal. How many coaches do you think really know enough about pitching to do that? Would you say Murphy has more experience than the average youth coach?

I try to do it that way and not be locked into rigid pitch counts but I also don’t go too far beyond the pitch counts even when I think a pitcher isn’t tired yet, because I realize that I don’t have the experience that someone like Murphy has and that sometimes the desire to win can cloud my judgement. You certainly can’t depend on the kids to tell you when they are tired.

Even experience is no guarantee. A college coach let Scot Shields throw 261 pitches in a 16 inning game and I’m guessing he was a bit fatigued before he was done throwing.

Managing pitchers by pulling them when they look tired is the ideal. How many coaches do you think really know enough about pitching to do that? Would you say Murphy has more experience than the average youth coach? [/quote]
I think very few coaches know enough to accurately recognize when their pitcher is tired and his mechanics are breaking down. Having been the pitching coach for a couple of different travel teams, there has been times when I recognized something with a pitcher but when I told the manager or head coach, all I got was a blank stare. They obviously had no clue.

Murphy definitely has more experience than the average youth coach. Tons more.

A wise strategy. I also try to do that. Any time I see a pitcher’s mechanics deteriorating - especially if his pitch count is starting to get up there - I know he’s tired and I pull him. But I also rely on pitch counts for those cases where a pitcher manages to maintain good mechanics. For youth pitchers, this is necessary to protect those growth plates.

"Is Murphy’s method an example of the kind of thing you’re suggesting we get back to? "

It would be an example of bringing “Our” experts to the fore.

“I think very few coaches know enough to accurately recognize when their pitcher is tired and his mechanics are breaking down”.

I think the reason this condition exists is that we don’t have to learn a difficult thing like this if we say, pitch count, no breaking stuff. Our collective brain can stay in neutral. "Well the medical community has stated…"
I think our real hope is a getting back to fun in the game, (Look at Ozzie and the Sox or Leyland and the Tigers or the Fish), Even though Pedro is no poster child for healthy pitching he brings the joy of playing with him everywhere he goes…much like Ernie Banks or Satchel Page. It’s one of those brite shiney ideals that you can almost get your hands around…
I was in a discussion on another site, about what a tonic coaching t-ball was/is, that on that field our children (By rule) are allowed to have fun and enjoy the game, where parents just love the controlled mayhem and people still smile (Nearly every inning).
I know it’s changing because of dollars getting into it, but this is how I have heard and envision the kids in latin America playing the game.
Joe was spot on when he pointed out that the scouts were forced into the cya mode of “cookie cutter” profiling, I’ve heard that they are so exact at this point that to even get considered outside of the profile, there has to be some compelling reason (Think k leader in college or sub-zero era for a college closer) and proof and even then a scout won’t get on the limb unless other scouts are there too. This all makes sense if you consider that scouts want paychecks also.
Maybe a Charlie Finley type who lets a bunch of oddballs dominate the game for a half a decade or so will begin to smash the stereo-typing. All I know is we have failed at the “Baseball Factory” mentality, the pencil pushers are obviously aware of this because they look more and more off shore for talent, ironicly they are starting to impose their will in Latin America and attempting to make them us…

Bottom line on scouting is minimizing risk. If you intend to invest time and money in a player (which MLB certainly does)then you begin publishing standard procedure or what you refer to as the cookie cutter; its the organizational pattern.

Billy Beane (Oakland) listened to his old school guys that identify athletic make-up but his final decision is stat related. On the other hand Roy Clark (Atlanta Braves) went with tools, fastball and makeup. I think even I could identify a natural 1st -3rd round MLB player. The big unknown is injury.

You take all this time identifying prospective talent, wine and dine them into your organization, pay them a big signing bonus and then WHAM…out jumps the injury bug. Mark Prior??? That’s why Andrews and Fleisig and others get the attention. They offer a perceived hope that some day risk of injury can be accurately predicted. They have prehabilitation and seem to suggest that a certain type pitcher throwing with certain mechanics and preparing in a certain way will minimize the risk.

And if you give them that much credibility there’s not much left for the “Old School Scout.” Not much feel…just does he fit the mold?

For my money I wouldn’t care if the kid fit the mold. I want to know what he’s made up of.


Funny you should mention t-ball. I’ve long felt it should be a requirement for all coaches to attend one or two t-ball games a year. It reminds you the game is about - fun. It helps restore proper perspective.

“I’ve long felt it should be a requirement for all coaches to attend one or two t-ball games a year.”

Great minds… :lol:

I go a step more, make them have to coach at that level “SUCCESSFULLY” and by that I mean; Only happy kids that want to return and play for the coach will allow him to get past this little tribulation. I know, I know, I’ll drive many from the sport, but I think we can afford to lose them :shock: We got lots more where they came from.